If you’re experiencing pain in the elbow when you straighten your arm, you may have a condition called tennis elbow. No, you don’t have to play tennis or even be an athlete to experience this, though athletes do commonly suffer from this condition more often than someone who is inactive.
Tennis elbow describes the pain caused by damage to the forearm muscle. The muscle in your forearm connects the wrist to the outside of the elbow. When you overuse that muscle, whether from constantly lifting your wrist or serving backhands on the tennis court, the muscle can develop small tears where it connects to the elbow. This can result in elbow pain and also in some pain and weakness in the wrist and fingers.
When to see a doctor for elbow pain
Typically, this pain begins mildly and can be managed on your own with rest and stretches. However, if the pain continues for more than a week or worsens despite resting, you should schedule an appointment with a physical therapist.
A physical therapist can help to strengthen and stretch your forearm muscle, which in turn will help heal the connective tissue at the elbow. Most cases of tennis elbow can be successfully treated through physical therapy alone. It is uncommon to need surgery for this condition unless you’ve left it untreated for a significant amount of time and have not rested. For this reason, it’s important to see a doctor after a week or two of pain and to not wait if your symptoms don’t improve.
Options for physical therapy treatment for elbow pain
At Arrow Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation, we offer three methods of treatment to help patients reach their recovery goals:
- In-clinic appointments
- Virtual physical therapy
- At-home sessions
To learn more about the types of treatment we offer or to schedule an initial screening, contact our team at Arrow Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation today.